California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 – Chapter 3 – Big Night Out In Atlanta

Things were good. Frank and I were chilling at his Aunt’s house in Atlanta and enjoying our time reconnecting. But I was itching to get back on the road. Frank’s Uncle came to visit and said he wanted to take us out. I’m fresh out of the nest at 19 and Frank is a world traveler at 21, so we’re down for anything. I can’t believe how many Irish people have relatives and friends scattered all over the globe.

The first place we go to is this cool country bar. We’re drinking beers and eating food and all is right with the world. This guy comes out, sits on a stool and plays original songs. I remember him being really good. It was a good warm up to the night ahead.

Then his uncle says he’s taking us somewhere else.

I’ve been to Baltimore and Washington DC, but not really anywhere else. I lived with my parents before this. This is the furthest I’ve ever been away from home in my life. I’m happy I have Frank with me, because he’s my security. I’m just a scared musician with anxiety and depression I barely even know I have. My mom made me three square meal a day my whole life. I have no clue as to what the world is.

Travel is so broadening. The world is such a bigger package than most people ever realize. All you know is your little world. But I know this journey is going to fundamentally change me. It’s something that has to happen. Leaving home was hard enough. I was terrified traveling all of that way by myself. None of my friends are doing anything like this. Just me. I’m different. I’m not but I know at that moment I’m different from all of them. I’ve always walked among them but never really joined them. This trip is proof of that. I have to learn to crawl towards the things that frighten me. Frank has no problem with anything. He’s a solid, bright guy. I’m just a skinny nothing. I don’t want to go to college like my sister Janice. I just want to go out into the world and find out who the hell I am.

Maybe music will carry me forth.

I just needed to get away from the dead-end existence of living in Wildwood. That’s a fun place in the summer, but nowhere to raise your kids if they’re from a major city. The winter is and empty desolate place where most of the people who live there are business owners that make a nice living and they spoil their children. The kids grow up in wealth but are bored out of their minds. I saw more drug abuse and teen pregnancy in that town than when I was back in Philly growing up.

Do I love that I got to spend every summer in the 70’s at the shore? Damn straight. It was amazing! Nobody on my block got to do that. Only us. So it set us apart from our neighbors in Lawndale. We didn’t care. We didn’t know. We were just kids. It’s something we just looked forward to and did every summer.

But Janice going off to college and me having to take my senior year at Wildwood High was just some self-serving selfish shit on the part of my father. But I’ve covered that already.

I’m happy to be on the road and free of the trappings of my parents existence. I’m sure Janice had her own awakening at college and so did little Gabrielle. We all made our way in different ways.

I’m here to be open and brave.

Here we go.

Frank’s uncle takes us to a place called the Pussycat Lounge. I don’t know what that is but it sounds sexy.

We go in and there are naked women dancing onstage.

My brain explodes.

I had never experienced anything like this in my life. I’ve heard about it and seen scenes like this in a movie but never the real thing. Back then I was still wet behind the ears. It was fascinating to see naked women before my eyes. Getting out in the world was an exciting adventure. They didn’t have anything like that anywhere I grew up. In between the girls dancing, there was this comedian that would come out and tell dirty jokes. He was really funny. Normally it takes a lot to make me laugh, but this dude killed.

Frank, his uncle and I had a great night out. I was still reeling from seeing that many naked girls standing right in front of me that night. When you’re young, and you see something like that for the first time it has incredible euphoric power.

I slept well that night and was still excited about what was next in the coming days.

 

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California Dreamin’ – 1982 to 1984 Chapter 2 – On The Road

After working through the Fall after the Summer season was over, I was itching to get on with the next chapter of my life. I had stayed on at Hunt’s Pier and worked on the maintenance crew. I think they laid us off around the holidays and we all just went on Unemployment. I planned my trip and kept in touch with Frank.

Back in 1981 the best way to plan a trip was to be a member of AAA. (Automobile Association of America) You went into the office and told them where you were planning to go and they would literally map out the entire trip for you. Maps, Tour books, something they called a Trip Tik, (Which was little notebooks that blew up your route on a series of maps.) It was really thorough. Using the tools provided you couldn’t get lost. They gave you info on everything. Gas stations, hotels and motels, facts about each town you were passing through. Just a wonderful service for travelers.

So I tell them what I’m doing and give them a week or so to put it all together. I had used their services before for short trips to Baltimore and Washington D.C. Kind of like, let’s take a few trips and see how we do before we take the epic journey to the new world.

Frank tells me he’s leaving Fort Lauderdale the 1st week of February and heading up to his Aunt’s house in Atlanta. I tell him I’ll come down and meet him there. He says we can hang there for a week and then head out West from there. Sounds like a plan to me. He provides me with her address and I tell him I’ll see him then.

That’s how people communicated long distance back then. Just a couple of phone calls and usually letters. Yes, we wrote letters. I’ll write about that in another post.

____________________________________

It was a cold grey morning in February, 1982. The VW minibus was all packed, and I was saying goodbye to my parents and sisters. I remember my mother crying, and my dad giving me some extra money. I hugged and kissed everyone goodbye and I left home.

It was a tough morning and I was scared shitless. I had never done anything like this before, let alone by myself. I drive South to Cape May. I am catching the first Ferry to Lewes Delaware. It’s the shorter route. I’ve never been on a ferry before so I’m terrified of that too. I decide I’m going to stay in the car the entire trip and listen to my music. It’s freezing outside anyway. I drive in with the rest of the cars. We wait a few minutes and then the ferry moves out into the Delaware River. Everybody gets out of their cars and heads upstairs to the inside upper deck.

I’m alone in this hollow dark place in the middle of a ferry surrounded by a bunch of empty cars. It feels like everyone’s gone and I’m left behind. fear and anxiety clutch me.

I change my mind. I get out of the van and lock it up. I go upstairs. People are in there and it’s warm and people are drinking coffee and eating and chatting. I’m so alone and I’m barely out of Jersey. I decide to go outside to get some fresh air. I’m the only one dumb enough to go out of the main cabin this time of year. But I want to feel it.

I step out onto the deck. The February wind bites my cheeks. The sky is grey like my spirit. I walk to the bow of the boat and look down. The boat is literally crunching through the ice coated water. I can see ice breaking up right in front of me. I’ve never seen anything like this. I mean, I’ve seen Tookany Creek frozen in the winter but that was just a little creek that we used to play near when I was a kid back in the 1970’s in Northeast Philly.

I am terrified. I’m alone. What am I doing?  I’m so scared.

But I must go on.

The ferry lands in Lewes, Delaware and everyone embarks.  I’m in my VW minibus and off I go. I’m driving South and now it’s on. I have to push on through Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina and South Carolina and I’m just scared. Simply frightened.

I remember my mom had packed me a little lunch for the trip. A little sandwich, chips and a soda. I went through the Chesapeake Tunnel and came out on the other side. I had so much anxiety going through that when I got to the other side I pulled over one the side of the road and threw up. That was my life back then. I couldn’t do anything without getting sick. My whole life was sickness. Think about that. All of the fun adventures you look forward to and are excited to do paralyze me.

You’re hot for your date with a new girl? I’m dying inside. I love her just as much and took the chance to get her but when the time comes I’m dead inside. A sea of nausea and fear. I can never enjoy any of the things you love. it’s all fear and sickness,  all of the things you take for granted and have fun with, I and sitting there on the sidelines dying.

You look forward to getting into the pants of the girl before you. I’m just happy she isn’t revolted by me and when I finally drag myself forward to ask her out I am almost to sick to take her out.

But I love her so much

And I will dry heave myself away to take her on a date. why? No idea. Just something in me. A weakness. a sickness.

I end up in a hotel in South Carolina and I am drained from the drive. I call my parents and cry on the phone to them. They are sweet to me but I know I must do better tomorrow and make it to Atlanta before I perish on this journey.

I fall asleep in my hotel bed. I’m scared and alone. I am breaking the shell of my anxiety and understanding. I have to do this. I know it. I have to do this. I have to go to California, if nothing else.

I’m a loser and have nothing else left in my life to do.  I have to do this now because there is no alternative.

_____________________________________

I wake up in my hotel room in South Carolina. I can’t even tell you what it was like because I am in a daze. I just need to get back on the road and get to Atlanta. I’m close. I’m one state away and I’m still really scared. I have to push forward. I’m going to see my friend. It’ll be great. That’s all I need to do.

I fire up the VW and off I go. I drive for hours and finally hit the outskirts of Atlanta. The directions they gave me back then were so good I actually pulled up on Frank’s aunt’s street by dusk that day.

I was so relieved I got to the house It’s like I was home again. but in a stranger’s home. but frank was there and a nice old lady and they were all very Irish and beautiful. the warmth and welcoming was overwhelming that I had made my trip was magic.

I was so happy to see Frank and his aunt was so welcoming. My fear turned to safety. I knew id be okay. We catch up over dinner and a few beers. I find it hard to believe this is all happening.

I knew our adventure was just beginning and we’d go and do that but for now we would rest for a week and just let the journey happen when we wanted it to. I was still having a lot of anxiety but was happy that I had moved forward with my life and I was with my friend.

I was away from shitty Wildwood a the dead-end that it had become. I was away from Hunt’s Pier and my dad and my family completely. Gone. I loved them but that wasn’t for me any more. I was going to California to be a metal god and that was the end of it.

I tried to keep a diary on the road but life became to interesting for me to even bother.

I settled into my bed and knew there was fortune to be had.

 

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California Dreamin’ -1982 to 1984 – Chapter 1 – The Idea

Back in 1982, I left New Jersey in my ’69 Volkswagen mini bus for Los Angeles. I’ll tell the whole story of that journey at some point, but I wanted to intro a new series that tells some of my interesting dating and social interactions while out in California. I was only 19 years old when I left, so these stories come from a younger man’s life. We got up to some wild shit back then.

These stories contain a bit more sexually explosive content so beware fair readers.

We were young, in a band and living in L.A. What could happen?

It was a long time ago but some of these tales are worth telling.

I’ll kick it off with this one.

 

I was sitting in a little tavern with my friend Bill in North Wildwood back in the summer of ’81. It’s a nice little beer and shot neighborhood bar. Woody’s is located at 19th and New Jersey Ave. It took me a moment to remember the name and location. It was a good lunch spot and also cool to hang out at night if you wanted to stay away from the club scene.

I met Bill working on Hunt’s Pier. It’s an old amusement pier on the boardwalk. I worked on The Golden Nugget Mine Ride, which was an old roller coaster enclosed in what looked like a big old western type mine. People road in little mine cars through the ride and stuff popped out of the darkness to shock and surprise them. It’s been torn down for many years but I have so many wonderful memories to write about regarding this period of my life. I can still smell the grease of the chain that carried the mine cars to the roof of the building.

Bill worked one of the games at the front of the pier. I don’t remember how we met, but we became good friends because at the time he was the funniest guy I had ever met. We hung out outside work and Bill was just so funny to be around. Usually I’m supplying the laughs but he just had a quick wit and I loved that about him. Bill wanted to go to California and become “the next Robert DeNiro” at the end of the summer season.

I tell him I want to go to California and become a metal god. (guy that plays hard rock and metal in a band) I suggest we save our earnings and go out together. He agrees.

I was a young naïve teenager back then and fell hard for people I met. We talked all about how great it would be when we got to L.A. and became stars. We did this most of the summer.

At some point I remember my dad chatting with Bill about our plan. I had him over to meet my Dad because I was so taken with my funny amazing new friend. My Pop has a lot of experience with people.

My Dad later told me that it sounded like Bill, was a bit of a feather merchant. Someone who could attach himself to me to get a free ride out to L.A. He also said that the stories Bill had told him about things he did and said back home in South Philly, and my Dad felt those stories didn’t wash. He also felt that Bill wasn’t really saving any money for this trip that I had already saved a thousand dollars for.

Well I think somehow Bill caught wind of what my dad was feeling. (Just looking out for my best interest) and got pissed off.  I remember him saying how he really hated my father and the trip was off.

I was crushed. I loved Bill and it was like he was breaking up with me. But as I write this now, I know my Dad was right about him. Bill’s pride was hurt, he was kind of a blowhard, and he hadn’t saved any money all summer. This was his immature boy’s way out.

But all was not lost. There was another guy I worked with on the ride. Frank. He was from Belfast, Northern Ireland. He was studying law and taking a year or two off to travel and have fun before he entered law school in London. We worked together every night on the ride and became good friends.

I remember telling Frank what had happened with Bill, and he said he’d go to California with me. He was going down to Florida with some of his mates in October and they were just going to work there for a bit. Irish people can get jobs like crazy. Great people! He said that he’d be coming up to stay with his Aunt and cousin in Atlanta after the holidays. So we started to plan for that. I was happy to be going with Frank, because I liked him and knew he was trustworthy and reliable.

I never really saw or spoke to Bill ever again. Not that I hated him or anything. We just lost touch after the incident and I guess he went back to South Philly.

But I was excited that the trip to Cali was still on!

 

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Wildwood Daze – 1980 – I’ve Had It With This Town

I love the summer. I’ve been dropped here against my will by some other person. My father. I have no control over my life. I have to go to school at a new school as a stranger. I know you have a problem with my dissatisfaction and depression.

I excel in school and start a band. I thrive in this shit hole you’ve dropped me off with no concept of how that will break your son’s spirit.

Janice is off in college so you’re good. If anything is of kilter your going to lose your shit and that is me.

What did you think was going to happen?

Let’s rip the 17-year-old son from all of his friends and his band from Philly and drop him off in Wildwood, New Jersey. A retirement and resort town the you already know is a deathtrap for young people.

You dropped out of high school to get away from this hell hole. You joined the army rather than turn to crime at 17. You fucking asshole that I love.

I get it. I worked in banking just like you for 30 years. You were making a bunch of bad loans at the Provident in Philly and got out when the getting was good.

You retreated to NJ. your little safe haven to escape, but you never thought of what that would do to the children in your life.

The little ones were fine. April and Gabby didnt;t know any better. But I was a senior in high school. I never got to graduate with my friends at Frankford in Philly. I had a band. You destroyed that for your little escape plan.

But what was that. You replicated your life in NJ as the regional manager at First Fidelity Bank. You’re a great manager and a great man. But you really have a taste for some of your employees, man.

I remember telling you about a girl I met once how I was in a relationship and I told you about how I had feelings for her.

You said, “Why don’t you just move on her”

I said: “Because that would be wrong. I’d be cheating on my girlfriend and that would betray her trust in me.”

You were pleased and happy with my answer.

I knew it.. because you could never be that. I could see it in your eyes you were relived that I wasn’t like you in that respect.

That respect.

Bitch, please.

If you’re unhappy in your liffe, divorce mom and just send the check and leave us the fuck alone. Then you can bag Jennifer Sweeten or as you call her “sweet meat” all you want until her husband finds out.

You’ll figure it out.

 

You and your brother Jack were dropped off here after your parents divorced. Nobody got divorced back then.

Why the hell would you think it was a good idea to drop me off in this shit hole?

Wildwood is a glistening sand castle of magical fun and romance in the summer… and then it turns into a bleak shroud of dark depression where there is nothing going on in the winter. It is a desolate hole of isolation that is impossible for a teenager to escape.

Here I am. I know you and there is a part of you that is me. Some great. Some awful. But you have the chore of raising the shitty you and now the shitty son you don’t understand who is too much like your brother Jack.

So if there were any questions as to why Chaz wanted to load up the ’69 Volkswagen minibus and drive across the country to go live in sunny California let’s put all of that to rest right now.

I love you, you selfish, self-serving prick.

I really do.

Thank you for teaching me to read. Thank you for all of the books. Thank you for your honesty. Thank you for teaching me to ride a bike. Thank you for teaching me how to catch a fish. Thank you for teaching me to drive a car. Thank you for teaching me about wine, art, and literature and film. Thank you for teaching me about women. (To an extent) Thank you for everything.

I’m not going to mention all of the bad stuff here.

All ready did some of that.

 

Time to load of the 69 VW minibus and head to California.

 

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Wildwood Daze – Summer of 1980 – Morey’s Pier

That photo above is of me rocking out on Morey’s Pier. You can see in the background my ex-girlfriend Lola wearing a shirt that reads: And on the eighth day God created Union Jacks.

Somehow we got a gig playing on Morey’s Pier. That’s the best amusement pier in Wildwood, New Jersey.

I remember the morning of the gig the band converged on the boardwalk with all of our gear.

We set up our stage in front of one of the amusement rides and went to Sam’s Pizza to get something to eat.

Back then I had terrible anxiety and it was hard for me to imagine eating before a gig, or anything for that matter.

I got a slice and a coke and laughed it up with the boys in the band.

This was going to be a watershed moment in our bands short history.

We went under the boardwalk to get ready and have a chat before the show.

I stayed behind telling the guys I’d be right up and ready to play after I took a piss.

I stood in the soft sand under the best amusement pier on the island. This was going to an amazing show. It was still early and the sea air was sweet and it was cool in the shadows beneath the pier.

I proceeded to throw up because I was so afraid.

I pulled myself together after several minutes and headed up the ramp to the sunny pier.

People were starting to fill the pier.

We needed to go on. The day was beginning.

I pulled my Ibanez Iceman from its case and put her on.

I never felt like I was anything until I put that guitar on.

I plug into my Marshall and we all tune up. I have to tune Mark the bass player’s bass because he’s tone-deaf. Can you imagine that? A kid whose parents are wealthy enough to pay for their music loving son great equipment who wants to be in a band and doesn’t have the physical chops to actually e a musician.

I need to get the fuck out of this band.

I love Jim, and he is a good musician and all but he’s into Lynyrd Skynrd and Clapton. I want to play music like Judas Priest and Iron Maiden. I no longer feel like I belong in this band anymore.

We blaze through our set and it’s a beautiful day. I’m surrounded by pretty girls (There they are in front of me!) and doing the one thing I love the most in the world. It’s the beginning of the summer and I couldn’t be happier.

When you have anxiety and get sick, you’re not really ill. You’re just frightened. You vomit because you’re so terrified to have to do the impending deed, you become physically ill. But once you vomit, you actually feel better because you know you can’t puke onstage now. (Pat Benetar and Barbra Streisand have the very same thing)

The show was great and we killed it. I had my Marshall amp on 6 and the show was loud. The crowd loved our set. My mother later told me that she was sitting on the porch of our house at 8th street and could hear me playing the opening riff to the song “Satisfaction” .

Let’s do the math here. That’s 18 blocks away. My mom heard my Marshal roaring from 18 blocks away. That’s some loud rock n’ roll man!

It was an amazing show and everybody loved us and I was pelted with phone numbers as usual.

 

But it would be bittersweet.

 

That was our final show as a band. The summer was upon us and we all worked our jobs during the busy season. During that time Mark had lost all the weight and fell in love with the band The Cure. The eighties were rapidly approaching and Mark wanted a change.

He told us that we could no longer practice at his families restaurant and he was quitting the band.

He wanted to pursue the new wave music that was coming at the turn of the decade. I got it. He was always a weak member but I liked the guy. But without a place to practice, the band fell apart.

I remember my father seeing this picture of me and my best friend Jim and saying :”What are these guys on?” 

We never took drugs and rarely drank even beer. I love this pic. Jim and i shared a passion for music, depression, isolation and a love of playing rock and roll.

I hardly talk to him now but know if I showed up at his house we’d be right back where we were as teenagers and have a laugh, a drink and a meal.

He’s a gifted hard-working artist and I will never forget him.

To me it looks like a pic of a couple of good-looking young rock stars.

And I’ll tell you this… I  get my energy from people. I don’t need coffee or cigarettes anymore. When I played on stage with Jim, I got my energy from him.

I would look to my left and he was always there. My best friend. I knew we were in sync as musicians because we were such good friends.

Thank you, Jim. I love you.

 

The Union Jacks were a defining moment in my music career and I will never forget the time I had with these guys making music and trying to figure out our lives a long time ago.

 

Once we all realized the band was dead we all needed to figure out what we were going to do.

Jim, was going to be a sophomore in Wildwood School. (He later married an older woman whose dad was a doctor and he started an Art Institute in the Poconos that still thrives today. Jim is an artist and entrepreneur.

Mark was going to become Robert Smith in the Cure. (He later was in a band called The Flesh Lords that were an absolute piece of shit)

I never found out what happened out what happened to Brian. I later found out he was gay and hopefully he is happy doing whatever he’s doing. What a spectacular drummer and singer!

 

Me? Graduated high school and no longer in a band. My father said “You’re either going in the military of getting a job.”

Really dude?

You rip me from my life in Philly and my band and drop me off here because of your fucking life?  So Janice can go to college and fuck my life because I’m a shitty student and I don’t matter?

I’m getting second honors at Wildwood High you cunt. I’m an art major and people love my work. You can’t crush this artist. I’m out of here.

Why would you drop me off in the hell you came from your childhood? the resort town you were forced to live in because your parents got divorced when nobody did that?

You asshole.

I love you for all that you’ve done but you’re still an asshole.

 

Fuck this.

Fuck you.

 

I know I’m not good enough and a disappointment and a sad dark refection of you. (I know you’ve told me who you are… almost proudly)

You can’t make a good son because he’ll be too much like you.

Don’t worry I know you. You’ll never admit that. You have three great daughters to justify your existence.

Whats one son?

You always have your grandson for a do over.

See ya.

 

“I’m going to California to play rock.”

 

 

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Wildwood Daze – I Need a Moment

Readers…. I need a moment to conclude the story of my time in Wildwood, NJ. It was an incredible time and left such an indelible mark on me. I just need a moment to tell the story of me from Wildwood correctly.

It’s been a busy year with many changes. All good! But I want to lay out the final chapters of this story properly.

My time at the shore in 1980 were so amazing I need to step back and take time to write them.

I have spent so much time getting content ready for 2019, that I’m struggling to get this last story out.

I appreciate your patience and will do my very best over the next couple of weeks to pull this tale together.

Summer 1980 was so amazing I don’t even know if I can capture it properly. but I’ll try.

Please enjoy my usual content until I can move through this little block.

I assure you I have a story to tell and it is rich. But there is so much here I’m just trying to gather all of these feelings together.

Thank you for your patience.

 

Once I break through this block, I’ll write the rest of the Union Jacks series and then we’re off to California!

UPDATE: Writer’s block broken. I wrote one final piece last night. If there are any more stories to be told about the Union Jacks and Wildwood in general, I’ll feature them in the future. Maybe like a flashback to the Wildwood Daze. Like a nostalgia piece.

I need to move forward with my writing trajectory for 2019 and I don’t want anything impeding the creative proccess.

 

Thank you.

 

 

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Christmas – 2018 and Beyond – Part 4

The kids pick me up and I’m stupid happy to see them. Lorelei’s boyfriend has the coolest car. It’s a black ex-law enforcement vehicle. So it’s a Crown Victoria, Still has the bigger motor, spotlight, the special suspension, and the battering ram on the front.

So technically, he can never be stopped by the cops for ANYTHING.

I love this car and I love the identity tied to it.

They’ve been together for 4 years and everybody loves Liam.  He’s a great guy and if he can put up with my daughter were good. (LOL!)

Oh course we have to stop at Wawa because they need coffee. (These kids and their lack of energy today!)

We drive to Janice’s house and I love that Liam is on point and I literally have to do nothing but provide banter.

It’s so relaxing. Just to be.

 

We figure out parking and all stroll up to the house.

We enter though the garage as everyone does. I decide to make a grand entrance and start with the opening bars of Andy Williams:”The Most Wonderful Time of the Year”

My cousin exclaims that’s her favorite holiday song and immediately hugs me.

 

The party is in full swing. I hand Tom his mystery bottle of booze and we scatter to talk and mingle with everyone..

 

I don’t have to get into detail here because that’s our time, but it was amazing to see what’s left of my entire family.

Me and all of my sisters. They’re all amazing women. I love all of my brother in-laws too. The nieces and nephews. My daughter! So good!

 

Janices’s son got engaged to his lovely girlfriend. I adore them both and wish them nothing but health and happiness. (I’m not going to say anything about grandkids, but by writing this I already did!)

 

It was magical day as it always is thanks to Janice who has kept the Christmas candle burning after all of these years.

That event on that Sunday IS my Christmas now. Without that party, Christmas would simply be a day when nothing’s open in Philly to me.

So thank you so much Janice for the incredible party you put together every year for all of us.

It means the world to me and it’s all I have left of anything that resembles the incredible Christmases we all had as kids with mom and dad.

Those memories are locked in home movies but even clearer for me in my own mind. I have all of details right here. More vivid than any 8mm film could tell. Sadly those will go with me when I pass. But… Our Christmases where so epic someone should have made a film about them.

Didn’t Janice get a Volkswagen Rabbit one year? lol!

But all kidding aside, my dad loved Christmas so much. He passed 2 years ago but if he were still around I’m sure mom and dad would love to see that we’re all still together and still celebrating the season.

I thank my sister Janice for keeping that flame still burning.

 

I’ve stuffed my head with tons of food, and they’ve packed tons of cookies and goodies for my trip home, but my ride needs to roll so I have to leave.

I bid farewell to all of my brethren and off we go.

I’m the old guy in the back of the cop car going to the train station.

 

What a great day.

 

Christmas for me is now complete.

I’ve seen everybody in my family and the feeling is pure bliss.

I have a Tupperware container full of cookies baked by my sister April that is the EXACT recipe for my mother’s christmas cookies. They taste exactly like them and every bite brings me back to our time in the kitchen with mom at 312 Magee avenue at christmas with my sisters and my mom.

Every bite is worth s fortune.

Better than money.

 

The kids drop me at the train and the beauty of it all is that it’s perfectly timed.

I love that.

I literally pass my ticket and step on the train.

In 30 minutes I’m back in the majestic bubble of Rittenhouse.

I feel the rush of returning to my sweet city after and incredible day that couldn’t have been more perfect. It’s so good, even I couldn’t have written this level of joy.

 

I get home and settle in.

It’s 6:30pm. I’ll watch some christmas shows and have a cocktail.

A quiet night of love and refection.

 

4 hours later…. my phone rings.

 

WTF?

 

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